(Second of a series: Suggestions for Summer)
During one of those occasions when I had some time off, my wife and I travelled to the Pamilacan Island in Bohol for some precious private time. Pamilacan Island is a small island off the southern coast of the town of Baclayon. It was made famous very recently by the dolphin and whale-watching tours, and the well-preserved marine reservation they have there.
The island’s name came from the word ‘pilak’, which is a large fishing hook previously used by the islanders to catch whale sharks, dolphins and manta rays. For some reason, these sea treasures loved to converge near the island. Today, the ‘pilak’ is no longer used, as the island’s inhabitants have learned to value the preservation of these sea creatures and turned to tourism as their main source of livelihood instead.
We were lucky to have been accommodated at the Pamilacan Island Paradise, a quaint beach villa that had none of the air of commercial lodges, yet had amenities that were clearly world-class.
My wife was particularly impressed by the resort owner’s classy taste. The place was kind of homey in a regal way, so tranquil and really, really private; and with unlimited coconut juice to boot! So the moment we arrived, she took out a long-unfinished book and started to read big-time. I had to pry her away from that hermit-inducing state so we could truly enjoy the island.
The resort itself has a long private white-sand beachfront, a three-story tree house, cabanas and beach huts, and lots of wide open space. All three bedrooms (take note, there are only 3 of them) have the standard air-conditioning units, but who needs that when the rooms are very well-ventilated and the fresh sea air just soothes and caresses your skin?
Aside from lazing and taking a stroll on the beach, we also found other interesting things to do in Pamilacan. There’s snorkeling or diving , fishing, exploring the ancient Spanish fort (the island was once a lookout against pirates coming from Mindanao), and trying out the local food. Oh yes, the fresh fish catch for breakfast was simply fantastic!
So one morning, we took time to walk around the small island. Had our breakfast with the local folks. Exchanged friendly banter. The jaws and skeletal remains of marine mammals and whale sharks can still be found adorned in the houses of the locals. And the locals? Having learned the importance of preserving the seas, and its positive effect on the tourist influx, the locals have been more than helpful and extra-hospitable to visitors.
After two days in this peaceful peaceful paradise on earth, it was time for us to go. Too bad, we would’ve wanted to stay there forever.
(Special thanks to Jun Lim for the accommodations at Pamilacan Island Paradise. Special thanks as well for our other photos courtesy of: steve de neef, ryan macalandag, cbholganza, thepeacockgarden.com, tengturista.blogspot.com, bohol.ph, travellogphilippines.com, and boholtourism.com)